It is hard to wrap up after a course like this one. There has been so much that I have learned – about myself, about my ways of listening to God, about what I will do with all this.
I came with a lot of fear. I found that I have found a place that feels a lot like home. I think it is a place where I can come to terms with those fears. Part of that is just knowing that fear is sort of built in to who I am. Part of that comes from also knowing that God wants to take me past my fears to a place where I can find my being in him. That doesn’t mean just ignoring the fears and doing stuff anyway. It is more of a way of acknowledging God’s accompaniment on the path through it to where he can grow my relationship with him.
So here we go together. This whole journey into this course and into a life of listening to God and others, becoming more available to people so that they can also discover ways that God is talking to them is going to be good.
Now, we have dispersed. Some are already on their way home or catching planes this afternoon. Tomorrow early, very early, we head home, barring a malfunction in the alarm clock.
This afternoon I head out into the hot – 33 degrees now – afternoon. I’m heading downtown to do some shopping. Treats for the kids.
Yesterday, I really regretted not bringing my camera along to Chicago. Randall and I took of for the heart of the city for our free time from the course. We visited Millennium Park after wandering around a bit in the downtown and sort of getting lost finding our way under the road to the side where the park is located.
While we were wondering I decided that I had better try and get myself a new pair of sandals. Half way between Thorpe’s, where we are staying, and the El station, my sandal began to come apart. I could still walk in them but I knew the situation was deteriorating. So, I made my first visit to Marshal Fields. I don’t think the women in Chicago who walk seriously buy their sandals there. I did however, find one pair fit for walking in. My size. On sale!
So, armed (or shoed) for walking, we went forth.
Millennium park was wonderful. They have this highly polished stainless steel? bean – called the Sky Cloud. It does wonderful things visually as you walk around and under it. I am so curious about how it was made. They also have the most wonderful water park – huge glass block towers with water coming down . One has a picture of a child’s face. First thing I noticed was that the child has a crossbite. Then the kid’s lips pursed and out spit this huge stream of water. The kids playing there were having such a wonderful time. I wished I was a kid again – or that one of my grandchildren were with me and I would have a good excuse to get thoroughly soaked under the fountain too.
In the evening we walked over to the north side, across the bridges to a small restaurant – Sandy’s Jazz Cafe. The food was great and so were the tow acts. The second of the two was so good. A big band kind of sound – trumpet, sax, trombone, bass, grand piano, and drums. We couldn’t stay forever but what we got was good enough that I would sure want to go back.
I did stop in the park and pick up a disposable camera. I was missing my close up lens though. I guess I should pick up a small digital that will fit in a purse. I think I have enough reward points to do that.
Today – Happy Anniversary Leo – I guess after 36 years we can stand a few days, even if one is our anniversary, apart. I went out for Thai food today, Leo – it was very good. Missed you.
Today has been good but pretty intense. New ways of experiencing God and of being sensitive to his presence. The practice of centering prayer was new to me. I had read about it but it was very helpful to have someone walk us through it.
And the listening groups, sharing stories and really listening. That is something I need to learn – not so much for the listening but discerning what God is saying and speaking what I hear back – that will take some practice. But I guess that is exactly what we are here for – to learn.
And now, it is evening, a hot evening after a very hot day. I am tired. Our day will be a bit shorter tomorrow and that break will be good.
And here we are!
We arrived in Chicago, no mishaps, very little weather on the flights till we got close to Chicago. Near Chicago, just a bit before we began our descent, the clouds started to build. There were some huge thunderclouds we had to skirt. Up there in the clouds it was pretty cool. The big thunderheads were like giant anvils, very flat on the top. All around were big cumulus cotton balls. This time there were only a few bumps but I think it took us a few extra minutes to fly around the really bad stuff.
Randall was travelling with me, which was nice. The stewardesses on our flight Calgary to Chicago were Ruby and Coco. Randall says he says he doesn’t’t think you could have a name like Coco and be a pastor. Well, no kidding, there is a dentist I took a course from one time – Dr Coco Garcia – so I guess you don’t have to have normal serious names to be a dentist.
The hardest part of the trip for me was waiting in Calgary for three hours after we had gone through security. There isn’t much to do in that area and there’s not much for restaurants or shops to wander around and look at. and no TV sets to watch! That I was surprised at. If you want to work on your laptop, fine, but there is only wifi if you pay.
We took the El – I guess it is called the CMA train really, then the bus and got to our destination with no problem. I like the transportation system here. It is pretty quick and efficient from what I saw. Just come prepared to buy your tickets – with change smaller than a $20. Cause the machines that vend the tickets don’t give out any change!
Today our course here begins. We retreat all day. Somewhere. We have to meet at 8 am to catch a bus and we will be secluded “somewhere” till 9 at night.
Actually – I need this time with God to begin this course. The last few days have been busy.
I am very glad that I am on vacation. I need a break and I am excited about going to Chicago for the course I am taking. I hope it is not unbearably hot and humid.
To start out right, I may just go and take a little nap. There is lots of left over chicken curry from the potluck so supper is ready.
This week seems to have been extraordinarily busy. We are getting ready to do some renovations around the office and I have a lot of little loose ends I must make sure are taken care of. Today is my last day of work – actually only working this morning and then we close to move all our charts and stuff to the basement. Right now the office looks really bare – pictures already off the walls and a couple of cupboards bare.
Because we are all going to be moving stuff instead of seeing patients this afternoon, we are having an office potluck. We won’t have to rush to try and fit a lot of eating into a half hour lunch break. We will need to do lots of physical work after we eat so going up and down the stairs hundreds of times will be good for us.
I am looking forward to tomorrow except that I will have lots of home type loose ends to take care of before I leave. sometimes it seems as if the rest of the family is allergic to shopping for groceries.
Maybe I should just let them starve – what a way to coerce appreciation, eh? They will all be so glad when I get back.
The weekend has been busy with visiting, getting the routine stuff done as well as getting ready for the course I will be attending in a week.
We celebrated and recelebrated Kieran’s birthday. He is definitely initiated into his third year. Yesterday we had cake. Tonight we had a picnic at the Little Red Park and more cake. Grandma and Kieran climbed a very tall hill, got bitten by mosquitos and got very dirty feet. It was fun.
This morning in the morning service we watched part of the DVD on Paul Carlson. Besides the fun of singing again in Lingala, the movie Monganga Paul brought back all sorts of memories for me. I was a teenager when Paul Carlson was killed and I already had aspirations of going into missions. I remember clearly the tension leading up to the day the news broke of the paratroopers landing in Kisangani and Carlson’s death.
Eleven years later, there we were. I guess it was another year before I visited Wasolo. Then we were given the task of reopening the mission, going up to the hospital where Leo was the first medical doctor to take up residence there since Carlson. People in the area still carried guilt for what happened to him, powerless as they had been to do anything to prevent his death.
Memories – it is weird the things the are prominent in that storage bank: the sermon or series of them, very similar, same text, that went on interminably on the theme of ‘women obey your husbands”; Eric running around wild as usual falling on a stick and pushing it into the roof of his mouth, Leo sick as a dog with TB coughing so hard he threw up almost every evening yet going off to do an emergency appendectomy for a Swiss lay missionary pregnant with her first child, parking the LandRover on the hill so we could push start it, Tim falling through the roof as he worked on getting another house ready to live in. The stuff of a missionaries life.